From the time I was a child, I was taught in bits and pieces how to be a good guest. When I am invited to someone’s place, I shall dress as they’ve asked the members of the party to, I shall eat only when I’m served, I should talk about matters that the host of the party has initiated, I shall laugh at boring jokes even if I do not wish. The usage of these tips and tricks may make me seem very generous and kind but they also do not make me seem memorable or worth being remembered; these tips and tricks help me lose myself in the crowd.
But you know who I remember from such parties? A person who would ask for what they’d need, in a polite manner. Someone who would talk about regrets from work or crack a funny joke and break into heavy laughter or express their slightly controversial views on a politician. This person would also wear a bit of what they liked put together with what the host had asked for. He/She would mix biscuits with butter, eggs with juice. This person would just be their own selves.
Many a times, we find children to be these people at parties. They run around the place, inquire each and every object of the host’s house with immense curiosity, call people with funny names, give their honest feedback on the food served. We often push them aside by calling them cute but somewhere in our hearts we want to be them, have their liveliness and candour. We want to get out of being generous and kind all the time.
A good party guest is someone who is a mix of a self-aware adult and a candid child.
The generous party guest is representative not only of a lack of eccentricity but also of a childhood where there wasn’t much scope to do as one pleased. They were always taught what to do, when to do, where to do and how to do it. Their every act was monitored and the sole reward was to please their own caretakers and those around.
We cannot erase this part but something we can do is to wage a war against such a past. As a child we did not have a choice, as an adult we most certainly do. Our politeness is not likely to get us authentic friendships. It’s time we broke that glass, laughed a little harder, became a little more honest, stuffed our bellies with food we like. It’s time we realise the shallowness of being cordial every single second of the day. It is easy to tolerate such people but very hard to love or admire them. The ones who are remembered are those who come out of their shells, every now and then, with their little eccentricities. It is these people who remind us of the bubbling little child and the embarrassed human being inside of us. It is such people who make for an ideal party guest!